Mike Robinson

Ideation vs Iteration

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Creating a compelling brand identity is no small feat. It requires a meticulous balance of creativity, technical skills, and a deep understanding of the brand’s ethos. At the center of this process lie two critical stages – ideation and iteration. In this document, we delve into the definitions, processes, and key skills required in these stages, illustrating their vital role in shaping a strong and resonant brand identity. Through practical examples, we illuminate how these stages work in sync, and the significance of adaptability, analytical skills, and attention to detail for a successful output. Read on to gain insight into the fascinating journey of brand identity creation.

Ideation is a creative process where you generate, develop, and communicate new ideas. These ideas could be in various forms such as a concept, a metaphor, a process, or a visual. It involves both innovation and problem-solving, with the aim to find solutions through the use of imagination, technology, and instinctive reasoning.

For instance, a graphic designer may engage in ideation when crafting a new logo. They would generate a multitude of ideas, exploring various color schemes, shapes, typography, and symbolic elements. Similarly, a brand strategist might use ideation to develop unique visual identities for a brand. They could brainstorm different ways the logo could reflect the company’s mission, values, and target audience, all with the goal of creating a memorable and impactful logo design.


Ideation Process in Logo Design

  • Sketching with Traditional Tools: Pencil, Pen, and Ink

The process of ideation in logo design often starts with traditional sketching tools such as pencils, pens, and ink. This tactile method allows for a more free-flowing and unrestricted generation of ideas. In this initial phase, the focus is more on quantity than quality. The aim is to let your creative mind wander and come up with as many different concepts as possible.

Sketching presents the opportunity to quickly visualize ideas and concepts. With pencils, you can easily adjust the weight of your strokes, allowing you to experiment with different line weights and shading techniques. Pens, on the other hand, can be used to add precision and definition to your ideas. Inks serve a complementary role, providing a bold and impactful look to your sketches.

This process is iterative, allowing for constant refinement and evolution of ideas. The sketches serve as a visual brainstorm, where ideas can be assessed, modified, or even discarded depending on their viability. It also provides an opportunity to identify patterns or recurring themes that might become the foundation for the final logo design.

Ultimately, the goal of the ideation process in logo design is to shift from broad, varied ideas to a more focused and coherent concept that captures the essence of the brand. Traditional sketching tools offer a straightforward and effective way to facilitate this creative journey.


Iteration is a cyclical process of refining ideas or designs based on feedback and testing. It involves making an initial version, testing it, learning from it, and then making necessary modifications. This process continues until the idea or design meets the desired objectives and standards. Unlike ideation, which is about generating new ideas, iteration is about continuously improving and refining an idea or concept.

For example, in the logo design process, iteration may come after the ideation phase. Once the designer has generated various logo concepts through ideation, they would select one or a few promising ideas to move into the iteration phase. They might then create digital versions of the sketched logos, refine the color palette, tweak the typography, or modify the symbolic elements based on feedback from others or their personal judgment.

The logos would then be tested in various real-world contexts; for instance, on a website, on product packaging, or in print advertising. Feedback from these tests would inform further refinements to the logo. This iterative process continues until the designer and the client are satisfied that the logo effectively communicates the brand identity in various contexts. It’s important to note that iteration is an essential part of the creative process, as it ensures the final product is not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional and effective in its purpose.

By Process

Iteration Process in Developing a Brand Identity System or Logo

The iteration process in developing a brand identity system or logo can be broken down into a series of steps:

  • Creation of the First Draft: The process begins with the creation of a first draft based on the ideas generated during the ideation phase. This draft is a preliminary representation of the brand identity or logo, and serves as the starting point for iterative development.
  • Testing and Feedback: The initial draft is then tested in various contexts to see how it performs. This could involve using the logo in different mediums (print, digital, etc.), testing the brand identity across various marketing materials, or simply seeking feedback from stakeholders or the target audience.
  • Refinement Based on Feedback: Insights gained from this testing and feedback phase are used to refine the draft. This could involve minor adjustments to color, typography, or layout, or it could mean a significant redesign if major issues are identified.
  • Repeat the Process: This cycle of testing, feedback, and refinement is repeated until the final design effectively communicates the brand identity and meets all desired objectives and standards.

In essence, design is a form of problem-solving. It involves identifying a challenge (e.g., “How do we visually represent our brand in a way that resonates with our target audience?”) and then applying creativity and technical skills to devise a solution. If a design is not addressing a specific problem or need, then it’s not truly serving its purpose. In the context of logo design or developing a brand identity system, the “problem” to be solved could range from creating a distinctive visual presence in a crowded market, to conveying a company’s mission and values, or evoking a desired emotional response from the target audience. Therefore, every step in the iterative design process, from ideation to final refinement, should be in service of solving these problems.

Comparison between Ideation and Iteration

In the context of brand identity design, certain skills can significantly enhance the speed of sketching, thus improving the ideation process.

Rapid Visualization: This is the ability to quickly translate thoughts into visual forms. Practicing doodling and quick drawing exercises can help enhance this skill.

Fluency: Fluency in sketching comes with regular practice. The more you draw, the more naturally and speedily you can sketch your ideas.

Versatility: A designer should be able to work with a variety of sketching tools. This can help in diversifying the range of ideas generated during the ideation phase.

When it comes to improving the iteration process, these skills are pivotal:

Adaptability: Designers need to be open to changes and must be able to incorporate feedback into their designs swiftly.

Analytical Skills: Being able to analyze feedback and decide which aspects of the design need adjustment is a critical skill for the iteration process.

Attention to Detail: Whether adjusting color shades, fonts, or design elements, a keen eye for detail is crucial to ensure that every element of the logo aligns with the brand identity.

In summary, being able to sketch rapidly and iterate effectively are two crucial skills in brand identity design. They allow for a more efficient and productive design process, ultimately leading to a strong and impactful brand identity.

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